ICC Issues Arrest Warrant for Former First Lady of Ivory Coast

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands,  last week unsealed an arrest warrant for Simone Gbagbo, the former First Lady of the Ivory Coast.   The warrant, issued under seal in February, was unsealed and made public last week.

The warrant says that the prosecutor requested a warrant against:

Simone Gbagbo (“Ms Gbagbo”) for her individual criminal
responsibility as regards the crimes against humanity of murder, rape and
other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts
committed during the post-election crisis from 28 November 2010 onwards
by the Ivorian Defence and Security Forces (“FDS”), which were reinforced
by youth militias and mercenaries loyal to President Gbagbo (“pro-Gbagbo
forces”), in Abidjan, including around the Golf Hotel and elsewhere in the

The court found reasonable cause to issue the warrant for the crimes against humanity of murder, rape, persecution and “other inhumane acts.” The court found Mrs. Gbagbo responsible as “an indirect co-perpetrator.”    Even so, the court found reasonable grounds that she participated by:

i) adopting the common plan; ii) being aware of its implementation and the
means other members of the inner circle had at their disposal to implement
the common plan; iii) meeting with members of Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to
discuss and coordinate the implementation of the common plan; iv) playing a
key role in recruiting and instructing the galaxie patriotique, and integrating
them into the FDS; and v) being aware of the contribution of other members
of Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to the implementation of the common plan.
Furthermore, the Chamber is of the view that Ms Gbagbo was fully conscious
of the factual circumstances that enabled her and other members of
Mr Gbagbo’s inner circle to exercise joint control over the crimes.

Mrs. Gabagbo is the first woman to be charged publicly by the court. Her husband,  former president Laurent Gbagbo, is currently in ICC custody awaiting his confirmation of charges hearing, (similar to probable cause to proceed to trial).  Ivory Coast is not an ICC state party, but acceded to the authority of the court to investigate the post-election violence.  Mrs. Gbagbo is in custody in Ivory Coast, and may face trial there.  As apparently the two remaining indictees in Libya may stay in Libya for trials.  Libya has made clear it does not wish to send Saif Qadafi to the ICC, but wants to proceed with a trial in Libya.


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